Monday, September 25, 2023

Guyana plans to use oil revenues to make higher education free

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Guyana expects windfall revenues from the sale of its crude this decade as ExxonMobil looks to add one new oil production vessel almost every year to its offshore operations. To make sure these revenues contribute to lasting growth for Guyana, the government plans to invest them into developing social and physical infrastructure that will make citizens’ lives better in the long term.

When it ran for office and contested the 2020 general and regional elections, the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) promised to make higher education free. There had been several movements over the years calling for this, with some proponents noting that Guyana’s Constitution states that education at all levels should be free. While this is the case for nursery, primary and secondary education, tuition fees were introduced at Guyana’s premier tertiary education institution, the University of Guyana, a few decades ago.

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The government expects the promotion of higher education in the population to accelerate the achievement of the central tenets of its Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030.

The document says research has shown that education helps students develop a strong personal connection to climate solutions, as well as a sense of personal agency and empowerment. Government expects this to have consequential impacts on students’ daily behaviours and decision making that reduces their overall lifetime carbon footprint.

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It states, “Of particular importance – when looking at interplay between climate change, the environment and education – is the way in which schools/educational facilities should be adapted to build resilience and plan to be prepared for and respond to associated risks related to climate change.”

In addition to free tertiary education. The LCDS includes plans, many of which are already in motion, to train Guyanese to function in a low carbon economy, develop capacities for trade in low-carbon services, and align educational programmes with low carbon development, including those offered at the University of Guyana and technical and vocational institutions.

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